Resigned to Their Fate: Jakartans Plan for Higher Costs

The Jakarta Globe

Anita Rachman & Elisabeth Oktofani

Jakarta. Jakartans’ reactions to news of the impending restrictions on subsidized fuel ranged from anger over the price hikes to indifference, with nobody interviewed showing enthusiasm for the new rule.

“It is unfair that the government will limit the usage of subsidized fuel,” said Rina, a private sector employee.

“The rule should be aimed only at people who drive fancy cars. How many fancy cars are there in this town? They are the ones who should actually pay more, since they have more money to buy fuel.”

Jodi Pamungkas, who works at a private company, said he would need to rearrange his monthly expenses if the government went ahead and restricted the use of subsidized fuel.

“I would have to recalculate my monthly expenses, especially for transportation, as I pay for it all myself,” he said. “The government has to think about who this new rule is affecting. Not everybody who drives a car has a lot of money.”

Reza Irawan, who works at a private bank in Jakarta, said he had no problem with the price increase since his company usually paid for his gasoline.

“So far, my company has not warned us about any rule changes due to increased fuel prices. As far as I know, they will keep paying for my transportation. So I don’t think I have any problems,” he said.

Rudi, an employee at a private company in Central Jakarta, shared similar sentiments.

“I drive a car made in 2008. But my company pays for my transportation, so I do not think that I will have a problem with the new rule,” he said. “However, for my personal travel, I will have to get smarter about spending money on fuel.”

Charles Banua, who drives a 1998 Toyota van, was resigned to his fate. “My van is already a gas guzzler and if I have to pay more to use it, I may just sell it and get myself a motorcycle,” the insurance salesman said.

M. Romahurmuziy, a United Development Party (PPP) lawmaker, said the decision to apply the new rule on subsidized fuel for all private cars, regardless of model year, would “disrupt economic justice.”

He said many cars on the road were made before 1990 and were only worth as much as a new motorcycle.

“A combination of the production year and [engine] size should have been taken into account,” he said, adding that cars built after 2005, as well as those built before but with large engines, should not be eligible for the cheaper gas.

The lawmaker also said taxis should not be eligible since “the people who use them are from the upper middle class.”

Romahurmiziy also warned the government to make sure that enough fuel was available throughout the areas surrounding Greater Jakarta, since residents living on the outskirts of the city would most certainly go to neighboring areas to buy cheaper gasoline. 

Rina: ‘It is unfair! The rule should address those who drive fancy cars. How many fancy cars are there in this town?’
Rudi: ‘My company pays for my transportation, so I do not think that I will have a problem with the new rule.’

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